December 30, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Resolutions



Here we are again, at that point where many of us create a list of changes that we want to make in our lives this coming year. We have these great intentions of “cleaning up the mess” that we may have made during the past year. If we didn’t “make a mess”, we want to do better and correct some flaws in our lifestyles and improve what we do, say, or think. Do you really believe that it is this easy?

Then there are people who do not make any resolutions. Some do not believe that they need to change anything about themselves; some believe that they are incapable of making any changes, no matter how much those changes may be needed. Some people make resolutions, never believing that they will keep any of them; others make resolutions under the guise of humor, never planning to keep them or because their family members pressure them to at least try to make changes in their lives.

Of course, there are people who make the same resolutions every year, never accomplishing anything towards changing any part of their lives. They may be certain that they will fail to change their lives for the better when they make the resolutions, or they may have the best intentions, but they never take the steps necessary to fulfill these changes. Maybe they don’t have the support of their families, friends, or others in their lives, but the ultimate fault rests on their shoulders.

Where do you belong in this listing of people; who do you closely resemble? Maybe you agonize over this process each year, striving to improve your life, but knowing that you will default to your old ways of living, and finding the same results. The stress does no one any good, and the process is not worth that agony. Maybe you believe that you don’t need that anxiety and want to get on with things as normal. Whatever your belief or intention or actions of the past, this year why not try something new and different?

This year recognize your faults, including the non-ability to make and keep resolutions. However, this year try to make resolutions that resemble baby steps. The longest journey starts with a single step; make the resolution to take that single step. Then resolve to take another, and then another, until you have made the transition to where you want to be. Who says that resolutions have to be made at the first of the year? Make them anytime that you want. Then adjust them as you go along, making the next steps as new resolutions.

This sounds just like goal setting doesn’t it? It is goal setting under another name. When you make goals, whether in your personal or your business life, you need to adjust them as you accomplish stages, or small steps, always raising the bar so you have a new goal to which to strive. Resolutions are no different than goals. Make small resolutions, and then adjust them so that you are always growing. The stress is less than striving for some difficult or perhaps looming goal. The reward will be self fulfilling, and you will anticipate the next step.

Make your resolutions simple, attainable, and rewarding. Include Appreciation Marketing in your resolutions, making it your way of life, in both your business and personal lives, and you will benefit from all that great karma that you will be spreading to others. Please leave me your comments about your thoughts on this, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com. I challenge you to express your gratitude to others for everything that they do, for you or everyone else. It will make your new year that much better, and more profitable.

December 24, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Holidays


This week’s blog posting is late, but yesterday was special. We spent time with some friends out of town whom we had not seen for several months, and a blog posting was less important than they were. Sometimes we need to pay attention to our friends and family and not chase our business opportunities. Remember the phrase, “Stop and smell the roses”? We need to follow that advice more and more to make us appreciate what we have, who we know, and what is possible.

We attended a choral presentation by a group of people who just love to sing together. They performed holiday carols, with no instrumental accompaniment, except for a piano for a portion of the show, and they were fantastic. Included in the presentation was a reading of the story “It Was the Night Before Christmas”, where the reader was surrounded by children of all ages. They were so sweet and listened in rapt attention to the reader, who was very animated to hear and watch. It was a very pleasant evening listening to the sounds of the holidays.

Afterward we went to dinner with our friends and shared Christmas gifts. We were reminded of friendship, the joys of sharing, and remembrances of past occasions and happy times, as well as some no so happy times. It was a wonderful break from the hustle and bustle of the holidays as well as the working week that we all normally experience.

We spend every day running from meetings to other meetings, try to sign customers to orders for our products or services, and looking for the next target to pursue. Our current clients, who have been loyal and true to us, should be appreciated for their loyalty, and we should actually let them know that we appreciate them. We should show our friends and family our appreciation for their support, their advice, and even their business. But do we appreciate ourselves, rewarding ourselves with a moment of reflection on life and all that it means to us?

This is a wonderful time of the year. However, it is also the time when we strive to “make our numbers”, those targets that we need to achieve to be considered successful. We run from post to pillar trying to sign the next customer or make the next sale, which will put us over the top, whatever that level is. Just calm down and stop for a moment and look around you. Take in the joy of this time of the year and let it engulf you, soothe you, and wash over you. Let the smells, the sounds, and the music play over you and then just smile.

This is a time of remembrance, sometimes remembering the good, sometimes the bad. Try to remember what was good, what was funny, and what made you happy. Don’t think of what should, or could have been, or what you may have lost; think of the good that you have, what you had, and pleasant times that you have shared. Remember those who made you happy, and let them know, if possible, that you appreciate them. If they are not still here, honor them by letting someone else know their story and your caring thoughts.

Appreciation Marketing is a way of life, not just in business, but in your personal life also. Make it work for you in your business life and in your personal life. Please leave me your comments, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, if you wish. Remember that one of the greatest gifts that you can give someone can be re-gifted or even returned. That gift is the gratitude expressed in a “Thank You”, perhaps accompanied by a hug. Until we speak, have a happy holiday season and consider yourself hugged.

December 16, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Who Else?


Last week, I proposed that all of us should consider that there are many people who have a part in building our businesses other than ourselves. From the comments that I received, either by phone or email, there is no middle ground on this discussion. Some of you are in agreement with me that there are several people to whom we should express gratitude for our business success. There are a small group of people who seem to believe that there is no one that has contributed to their success except themselves working alone.

I do not understand this disparity; doesn’t everyone have customers that have contributed their purchase of products or services? Doesn’t everyone have someone who helped them get started, including family members who supported their ideas and encouraged them when their business began? Aren’t there business relationships who help with ideas, encouragement, or even criticism? What about the people who built the facilities that support a business? These include the communications lines, the utility lines, the building that houses a business, your home in which you live or which may house your business, and the streets that bring clients to you, no matter where you meet them.

In addition, what about the police and firefighters who protect businesses and the occupants or the emergency technicians who would respond to calls for assistance? How about the teachers and instructors that helped you form the ideas and intelligence that helped you build the business or guide the success now? There has been a lot of talk lately regarding how these people do not deserve their salaries or pensions. How would you like to do their job or provide for their contribution to your well being? They are, or have been, available when their talents are needed, sometimes contributing multiple times.

The list just keeps on growing, doesn’t it? You should consider the fact that all these people contribute to the economy in other ways that allows you to succeed. Maybe they are the clients of your customers, allowing your clients to be able to do business with you. Maybe they have other influences on the events or community atmosphere that has contributed to your business’s growth and success. Maybe the price levels that allow you to purchase at the rate you enjoy with your vendors is a result of the success of your vendors. Your vendors themselves have a hand in your growth and success.

Have you ever spoken with any of these people and asked them how you might help them? Have you ever expressed your gratitude towards any of these people for their contribution that supports you? You should do that without further delay. Sometimes just a “Thank You” is sufficient and is all that you need to say. Everyone likes to be noticed and thanked for what they do. We all like to be patted on the head once in a while. Doing so will bring you further good karma that will help your success grow and prosper.

This is the holiday season, no matter what type of holidays you celebrate. Don’t have a lot of money for gratitude? Just a word and a shake of a hand will do. Throw in a smile and make them “know” how you feel, and you will have a positive effect. Each day, no matter the season, take time to thank at least one person every day for their part in your life.

Appreciation Marketing takes many shapes. Make it work for you in your business and personal lives. Then, leave me your comments, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com. Everything that we do, we do together; success and failure are community efforts of everyone involved. Just show appreciation to everyone.

December 9, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Who Built It?


There has been a lot of talk lately about who built your business. Business owners like to take all the credit for building their business themselves without any assistance from anyone else. Who really built any business, and who should get the credit for your business success?

Different businesses should be examined from different viewpoints. Is your business a brick and mortar storefront, or is it internet based? Do you have a product or service; do you have any employees, or are you a solo operator? What do any of these questions mean regarding what you mean when discussing who built your business?

There may not be a business if you did not decide to be a part of it. If you developed the concept of your business, maybe it would not exist. However, can you take all the credit for its success? Are you a part of a franchise for a larger enterprise? The business itself may have been quite successful even if you were never a part of it. If you are a solo operator, you are more important than if you have employees. Could your business be successful without them if you do have employees?

Does your storefront reside on a public street that someone else built, or is your home based business in a house that someone else built on a street that the city or county maintains. Is the internet your avenue to your customers or a mainstay of your marketing, and did you built that? What about the public entities that support your phone, electricity, water, and gas? What does the availability of your product for resale mean to your business’s success, or can you really exist without anything to offer your clients? If you provide a service, did you really invent the concept, or did you learn it from someone else?

Bottom line, none of us can honestly say that we alone, without anyone else, built our business. Facilities, support services, and suppliers all have a contribution to our success, and they should be appreciated for that contribution. Our family plays a large part in our success, either through their support, assistance, and otherwise. There are many others whom I have not mentioned that probably provide help in making our businesses successful.

We have not mentioned the two most important contributors, your employees, and your clients. If you have employees, you would not be able to accomplish anything without them. Most importantly, without clients you would not have a business, successful or not. Maybe it is time that you started showing some Appreciation Marketing towards these two groups. After all, your clients put money into your pocket, and your employees help your company to provide something for your clients’ purchase.

Anyone who helps improve your bottom line should be a target of Appreciation Marketing, your gratitude for their efforts to assist you. Clients, employees, and your networking partners who refer prospects to you are all people who assist your business in its success. You need to thank them for their efforts and for their contribution to your success. You cannot exist, much less be successful without them.

So stop claiming that you built it all without any assistance from anyone else. You just aren’t that great or powerful. Once again, whether you agree or disagree with me, please leave me your comments, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com. Appreciation Marketing applies to everyone that helps us. We cannot do this, whatever it is, by ourselves. We need everyone else.

December 2, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – It Applies to Employees Also



Previously we discussed the theory that Appreciation Marketing helps any business build their client base through showing networking partners that you care about their success and well being. Appreciation Marketing teaches us that keeping your current clients is cheaper in time and money than only looking for new ones to replace those whom you lose due to their perception that you have been ignoring them and their contribution to your success.

In other words, show your clients, prospects, acquaintances, and everyone that you meet your appreciation for what they do for you, and for others, and you will gain their loyalty. You will also gain their referrals of others, even if they themselves may not be clients. It is just good business and helps everyone involved.

There is another group of people whom we need to include in Appreciation Marketing, your employees. These are the people whom you trust with the interworking of your business, either on site or in remote locations. They may be your only coworker, or they may be thousands in locations that you very seldom visit. They are as much a part of your business’s success as anything else that you do or say. Your clients contribute to your bottom line, and your employees make that happen.

Do you have a program to recognize personal events in the lives of your employees? What about their birthdays, marriages, anniversaries, children’s events, or even their illnesses? Do you recognize the referrals, either for new clients or new employees, that your current workers have helped bring aboard? We have in the past said that your clients’ anniversaries of becoming a client should be recognized; how about recognizing an employee’s anniversary of employment?

I spoke once with a realtor who indicated to me that she never expressed appreciation for anyone. I asked her about the receptionist in her office who made sure that callers’ messages reached her when she was not in the office to answer their calls. I asked her if she ever thanked her for being there when people called and for delivering their messages. Her response was: “That’s her job”. Yes, it is, but I believe that everyone should be recognized and appreciated for what they do.

Employees should be shown appreciation, not for the fear that they might sabotage our business, but because it is the right thing to do. Just like our clients, prospects, and others that are “outside” our business, we need to recognize those that work towards its success from within. Without them, you would not be the successful owner that you are, or can be.

The most valuable assets of any business are your clients, your inventory, your facilities, but also include your employees. Like your clients, and prospects, your employees are people, just like you. Treat them as you would yourself, even your family, perhaps even better. After all, Appreciation Marketing starts at home, and that includes in your business.

Please leave me your comments about appreciating employees. You can also call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com. Appreciation Marketing applies to everyone; employees are a part of everyone and can affect our business’s bottom line just as much as clients, prospects, or anyone else. Treat them well, and they will treat you well.